Monday, March 12, 2007

Targum for Pequdei - Engraving in Hebrew and Aramaic

Shabbat, just a few hours ago for me we read Vayaqhel-Pequdei. I made a note to myself to blog about this for Tetzaveh, but I forgot about it, so luckily it completely repeats itself in Pequdei.

What I was interested in was the word גלופה which I became acquainted with when I trying to translate the order forms for the SAVE DARFUR / הצילו את דרפור shirts
which HAeD prints. In modern Hebrew גלפ means
גְּלוּפָה שֵם נ' (printing) block, plate
גִּלּוּף שֵם ז' carving, etching, engraving

What piqued my intrest in the root גלפ is that it for some reason sounded familiar in the context of printing. After a few days of it bothering me, I finally hit on it. גלפ or גלופה (g-l-pf or glufa) sounds exactly like glyph. Here is what glyph means according to ( is actually an Israeli company, that much I knew. But who knew they are
right next to the mall in Jerusalem!)

A symbolic figure that is usually engraved or incised or A displayed or printed image. In typography, a glyph may be a single letter, an accent mark or a ligature.
They have some etymology too


The term has been used in English since 1727, loaned from glyphe in use by French antiquaries (since 1701), from Greek γλυφη "a carving," from γλύφειν "to hollow out, engrave, carve" (cognate to Latin glubere "to peel" and English cleave). -
They have some Hebrew translation, but every time I copied it to blogger, it would mess up the whole post reversing the English and messing all the HTML so if you want to see it, take a look its at the very end of the site.

They may be right that glyph reached English though French, Greek and Latin, but I will tkae it a step back and say that it comes from the Aramaic גלפ

Here is where the word appears in the Targum to this weeks Parsha
שמות לט,ו
וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת-אַבְנֵי הַשֹּׁהַם, מֻסַבֹּת מִשְׁבְּצֹת זָהָב, מְפֻתָּחֹת פִּתּוּחֵי חוֹתָם, עַל-שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
וַעֲבַדוּ יָת אַבְנֵי בֻּרְלָא, מְשַׁקְּעָן מְרַמְּצָן דִּדְהַב,גְּלִיפָן כְּתָב מְפָרַשׁ, עַל שְׁמָהָת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

שמות לט,יד
לט,יד וְהָאֲבָנִים עַל-שְׁמֹת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵנָּה, שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה--עַל-שְׁמֹתָם:פִּתּוּחֵי חֹתָם אִישׁ עַל-שְׁמוֹ, לִשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שָׁבֶט

וְאַבְנַיָּא עַל שְׁמָהָת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אִנִּין, תַּרְתַּא עַסְרֵי--עַל שְׁמָהָתְהוֹן: כְּתָב מְפָרַשׁ כִּגְלָף דְּעִזְקָא גְּבַר עַל שְׁמֵיהּ, לִתְרֵי עֲסַר שִׁבְטִין.

Other instances of root גלפ in the targum
שמות כח9
שמות כח11
שמות כח21
שמות כח36

A friend deals with the etymology of Ptil/פתיל with his knowledge of Russian


Joel Nothman said...

The order of borrowing is not clear. But yes, it seems likely to me that the words are related. It might be worth finding yourself a Hebrew etymological dictionary (eg. Klein's if you want to read English).

Take a look at entries for גלפ and קלפ in the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon and you will see that the meanings of carving as well as peeling are common with those Indo-European sources of "glyph" and "cleave". The Online Etymological Dictionary on the latter suggests a primitive Indo-European root meaning "to cut/slice".

Joel Nothman said...

More references: Jastrow on גלפ and on קלפ. There the meaning for the latter of "paper" (in Syr. Arc. according to CAL) or "parchment" (as in קלף מזוזה) or MIH "card" is explained by "to split parchment". It might be also worthwhile to note that Jastrow only cites גלפ in the targum and midrash, but not the talmud.

As for targum citations, there are some on Exodus, 1 Kings, Ezekiel...

Do with it what you like. Gtg eat lunch =)

Phil said...

I like your possible connections between English and Hebrew. Here are some other possible ones for גלפ

sCuLPt, enGRaVe